The quality of authentic leather shoes outshines other materials, but they are costlier and require a bit of TLC. To ensure your leather shoes stay in the best shape, you can use homemade remedies or invest in a good leather shoe stain remover, leather shoe cleaner and leather shoe conditioner. Whichever you choose, these supplies can provide regular care and tackle unexpected stains on your leather.
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Leather Shoe Stain Removers
You can first try a homemade leather shoe stain remover if you don't have any leather cleaning products on hand. Some experts recommend removing any laces first; you can hand wash them or buy new ones. Next, use a soft, clean brush or cloth to remove any dirt or debris on the surface. Add a drop of gentle dish soap into warm water, dip in the cloth and wring it out.
Wipe the stain until it comes out, rinse and then clean the rest of the shoe's exterior. Take a second cloth, dampen it with clean water and wipe off any remaining soap. Dry off the shoes with a towel. You can also make a homemade leather shoe conditioner out of two parts linseed oil and one part vinegar. Combine them, and apply to the shoes with another clean, soft cloth and let them rest for 15 minutes. Buff them until they shine and let them air dry.
If you don't want to use these homemade methods, use store-bought leather shoe stain removers, cleaners and conditioners. You can also find multi-purpose products that do double-duty, like a good leather boot cleaner and conditioner.
Drying Your Leather Shoes
Avoid letting the shoes dry near a heater or in the sun because this could cause the leather to crack or fade. Instead, store them in a cool, dry location like a closet or a dark room. Re-lace if needed, and you should be good to go.
Cleaning Other Leather Stains
Not all stains come out of leather quite so quickly, and there are different ways to remove specific kinds of marks on your leather goods. For mildew stains, combine equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol, then apply with a clean cloth. Rub the stains until they are gone and go over them again with another cloth dampened with water; then, let the leather air dry.
Salt stains should first be wiped off with a shoe or boot brush. Put 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of water and apply this with a soft cloth. Get at grease stains by first blotting them with a clean cloth. Then, sprinkle on a bit of talcum powder and let the shoes sit overnight. Try wiping away the grease in the morning with a soft cloth.
Remove ink from leather with hairspray, but like other homemade methods, there are no guarantees. Spray on just a little bit at first, and wipe it away with a clean cloth. You can spritz it onto a Q-tip instead of directly onto the leather and test it in an inconspicuous spot. Never use any harsh cleaners on leather, especially if the leather is a light color like tan or white. Anything that contains detergents or acids will destroy the leather.